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Be visionary and think strategically

Transformational leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate employees and stakeholders to create the conditions for successful transformation. Being visionary and thinking strategically is essential to this.

What is visionary and strategic thinking?

The ability to envision, (co-)create and share a compelling future state vision that provides direction and purpose to the organisation, clearly explaining why transformation is needed and what it will achieve, supported by a plan of action that sets out how to deliver the intended outcome(s).

Essential for:

  • All types of transformation.


  • Contextual awareness.
  • How to implement effective governance.
  • How to manage business change.


Able to:

  • Think strategically: With a whole council mindset, aligning transformation activities to wider council objectives and creating the conditions for success.
  • Communicate effectively: With stakeholders at all levels both verbally and in writing, use storytelling techniques to ‘paint a picture’ of the end state.
  • Be creative: In the expression of the transformation vision to win hearts and minds when the logical proposition alone is not enough.
  • Manage risk: Within the wider framework and risk appetite of the council to ensure successful delivery.
  • Demonstrate leadership: Model behaviours effectively, embody the change.
  • Implement effective governance: Ensuring an effective control framework is in place to support delivery.
  • Plan strategically for the long term: Avoiding short term solutions that derive limited benefit and create strategic or technical debt for the future.
  • Build relationships: Establish, nurture and maintain positive relationships to achieve transformation outcomes.
  • Build and empower teams: To deliver within clear parameters and standards.
  • Manage conflict: Openly address differences in a constructive and positive way.
  • Manage change effectively: Work within governance to ensure change is well managed and appropriately controlled.
  • Delegate appropriately: Ensuring roles and responsibilities are clear.
  • Be emotionally intelligent: Recognise, understand, and use emotional responses effectively in the achievement of outcomes.
  • Solve problems: Defining the key issue(s), considering options, and selecting the option that most appropriately resolves the issue.


  • Purposeful
  • Accountable
  • Collaborative
  • Consistent
  • Act with integrity
  • Decisive 
  • Authentic
  • Empathetic
  • Inclusive
  • Resilient
  • Solution focused
  • Adaptable and pragmatic
  • Committed to continual learning

Related roles

  • Chief Executive
  • Executive Director
  • Director
  • Head of Service

Leadership and management – maturity index

The index attached below sets out the typical leadership and management characteristics demonstrated by councils at each stage of their transformation maturity.